Voter ID Laws – AP Exam: US Government & Politics

In a game, two groups compete and use strategy to gain advantage over the other in the ultimate quest to win.  Politics is often referred to as a dirty game where political parties and campaigns will do anything to win.  For success on the Government and Politics AP Exam, you’ll need to understand campaign strategies.

The Presidential Election of 2012 has become a fierce battle between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.  With only weeks to go, the election’s outcome may be determined more by who doesn't vote than who does.

Since the last Presidential election, seventeen states with Republican governors and legislatures passed rigid requirements for voting privileges.  These are known as Voter ID Laws.  Would be voters must present state-issued identification in order to vote.

However, an estimated 3.2 million citizens navigate through US society without legal documents.  Many people living in rural areas, college students, the poor, elderly, disabled, and racial minorities do not have and/or can not get state-issued identification easily.

And how does campaign strategy come into play over something seemingly as benign as a driver's license?  Overwhelmingly, Voter ID laws affect democratic voting blocs.   In a close election, particularly in swing states, lack of identification may suppress the democratic turnout.  The states in question account for 218 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Critics argue that Voter ID laws violate The Voting Rights Act of 1965 which eradicated discriminatory practices interfering with minority voting rights.  Are voter ID laws the 21st century update of grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and literacy tests?

Republican Arguments in Favor of Voter ID Laws

- Prevention of voter fraud
- Insurance of voter confidence
- Protection of ballot security

Democrat Arguments Against Voter ID Laws

- Tantamount to voter suppression
- Disproportionate effect on minorities
- Targets typically democratic voters
- Attacks in battleground states may affect election’s outcome
- No measurable amount of widespread voter fraud

So what's your opinion?  Are Voter ID laws necessary or simply a dirty campaign strategy of Republicans?  Consider the You Tube footage of Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turzai saying , "Voter Id, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, DONE!"

As the clock ticks toward November, courts in some states have postponed the effects of Voter Id laws until after the upcoming election.  However, this issue is not dead.  The Supreme Court's current docket will rule on whether Arizona's version of Voter Id laws is constitutional. Good luck on the AP exam!

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